Please see our player page for Matt Brash to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Prospect News: Rankings Redux: Eury and the Henderson

In a recent post, I found myself saying Milwaukee OF Jackson Chourio was on track to be a top 50 prospect by mid-season, which got me thinking, as I should be this time of year, about updating the top 100 list. 

I made a trade offer for Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson this week in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty League. Was just Arizona DH Seth Beer straight up, but that league is weird, with a double utility spot. Deepest hitting set-up I’ve ever played, unless I ran that math wrong way back when I half-sprinted through it just to create some context. It’s a half-step or so deeper than the Razz30, and the full-week freeze of lineups adds another wrinkle I haven’t played with a whole lot in a superdeep dynasty format.  

Also went a little overboard in trying to secure Colorado SS Ezequiel Tovar this week. 

Anyway the natural first question for most readers at this point is who’s rising the fastest, like Chourio and Tovar. Or maybe that’s just the most enjoyable question because its opposite might be equally immediate to most fantasy players: who’s feeling that baseball gravity? 

I tend to avoid the second question, if I’m honest. Players lose mind-share of course but it happens kind of quietly in the back of my mind as I build a list. Herbert Perez, is a recent player I can recall who I never really soured on in any real way. The evidence at present just didn’t support some trust-based ranking. But I’ll try to be proactive on that front and chronicle it here as I work through the list. If it’s a little dry or boring in the end, I’m hoping you just fast-forward a bit because that’s way easier with reading than it is on, say, HBOMAX. 

So who’s rising as I start building a rankings reshuffle? 

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Secretly, what no one could know, before yesterday’s game in Milwaukee, Christian Yelich hired a hitman. Did he want something done to a person? Heavens no! His fine eh eff mother raised that boy well! No, what Yelich wanted done he whispered into the ear of the hitman he hired off of Craigslist. Thanks to scouts Razzball hired, we know what was said, and by ‘scouts,’ I mean eavesdroppers. Yelich whispered, “Take this baseball bat that does me no good, and beat the shi*t out of the humidor until it no longer functions.” Yelich said the only way they’d know definitively that the humidor is busted is if Keston Hiura (1-for-4, 2nd homer) could hit it out. Job well done, Humidor Hitman! Yelich also benefited from his own mafia ties (3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (3). The humidor hit was especially nice for me since two benefactors were two of my sleepers, Luis Urias (1-for-4, and his 1st homer, hitting leadoff), and the big star of the game, Willy Adames (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 7th and 8th homer, as he hits third. That sleeper of mine makes up for my Jarred Kelenic sleeper post! *dodges tomato* It doesn’t make up for it? *dodges another tomato* Okay! Geez! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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May the Fourth was with Rowdy-D2, as he had the night, that every hitter used to have in 2019, 4-for-6, 8 RBIs and his 6th and 7th homer. Anyone who asks, I say grab Rowdy Tellez. You down to Jarred Kelenic or Rowdy Tellez and I’m Tellez who I want who I really really want. Wanna see who’s hot? Look at the 7-day Player Rater. Don’t have to scroll far down for Tellez. Wanna see a gorgeous Statcast page? Look at Tellez’s. I wrote a sleeper post last year for him, but my one caveat was: Does he have playing time? He struggled to find it; Jays shipped him off and now he won’t be denied, especially not on the planet of Tater-ooine:

Sorry, these are just so cringe that I can’t resist. Also, having a great night, and now deserves a Colt 45, was Andrew Cutchrissian (4-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs):

Okay, okay, one more, and this is the worst one, which makes it the best, Luis Chewurias:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Finding great pitching is always always a chore during the fantasy season. If the pitchers on the waiver wire were sure things, they would have been added during your league’s offseason draft.

But this doesn’t mean finding a good pitcher is impossible. It just means you have to study the pitchers and make an informed decision about whether a certain pitcher is just hot or is a legit add and keeper.

Two players we will look at today are Eric Lauer of the Brewers and Matt Brash of the Mariners.

Who are Lauer and Brash?

Lauer was drafted twice, once out of high school by the Blue Jays in the 17th round of the 2013 draft and then with the 25th pick of the first round of the 2016 draft by San Diego.

Lauer had a great college career at Kent State, going 23-10 with a 1.86 ERA and a K/9 rate of 11.2 while walking only 2.5 batter per nine innings. 

In the four minor league seasons, he was only 9-10, but he had a 2.85 ERA, 1.175 WHIP and still 10.2 K/9,

Brash was drafted in the fourth round out of Niagara University by the San Diego Padres. In college, Brash put up nice, but not great numbers. 

He started 29 of the 38 games he appeared in over three years, going 12-7 with a 2.97 ERA. In 190.2 innings of work, he struck out 215 hitters, or 10.1 K/9, with a 3.1 BB/9 rate.

His walk rate increased in the minors, where in 25 career games he had a 4.2 BB/9 rate but with an outstanding 13.1 K/9 rate.

So, why are they still available?

Lauer was a pedestrian pitcher his first major league three seasons, posting ERAs of 4.34, 4.45 and 6.37. But last season the lefty rebounded with a 3.19 ERA.

Fantasy owners are coming around on Lauer, at least in Yahoo leagues where he rostered on 66% of teams. However, he is only rostered in 49% of ESPN leagues.

Meanwhile, Brash is owned in only 30% of Yahoo leagues and 17.8% of ESPN leagues. While he is ranked as a Top 100 by several publications, the fact he didn’t dominate hitters in college and the minors has left doubt about him by fantasy owners.

Is that doubt about Brash correct? Is Lauer really for real?

Let’s take a look.

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NY City’s newest fantasy ace Tylor Megill combined with four other relievers Friday night to throw the first Mets no hitter since Johan Santana in 2012. It was also the first no-no of the season, and just the second for the Mets in ever! Chris Bassitt says Manfred’s balls are all messed up–yet, he and […]

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What transpired this preseason: Coolwhip reached out to me to see if I was going to write a Nestor Cortes sleeper, because he liked him and wanted to write one. I said, “Nah, I don’t think I’m going to write one, but I like him too!” What Coolwhip didn’t know, what no one could’ve known, I hadn’t looked at Nestor Cortes at all. I said I liked him because Coolwhip said he liked him. Then I waited for Coolwhip to give us his Nestor Cortes sleeper, and, after he did, I said, “Yeah, exactly, that’s what I would’ve wrote too!” Stats and image provided by Coolwhip:

“(M)ain thing to note is in 2021 Nestor started 14 games. Before that, he had only started a grand total of… (carry the 1… multiply by square root…) 2 games. 2 games, that’s it. So this was a bit of a new foray for him. It’s not often that you go from the pen to starting and your numbers improve drastically. Not just a little mind you; but by every conceivable measure, he got better. His K-rate went up, BB-rate went down, and he cut home runs in half while suppressing hard contact and limiting runners.”

Nestor did this by scrapping the sinker and curve, and replacing them with a cutter. Also, he varies his release point a lot, like nearly every pitch. I half expect him to throw right-handed occasionally. Yesterday, Nestor Cortes (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 0.00) threw an immaculate 4th inning, and changed his release on nearly every pitch. This is magic:

In 9 1/3 IP this year, Nestor Cortes has 17 Ks. That’s in two starts, or one Nolan Ryan start. Pardon me while I put my eyes back in my head. Nestor Cortes’s 16.4 K/9, 0.96 BB/9 and -0.26 FIP is pretty good, if you’re lacking for adjectives. You really have to be impressed with Nestor so far this year, he’s looking as brilliant as me blindly agreeing with Coolwhip. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is one of the most annoying weeks of the season to write about streamers. It’s always tough to gauge whether we should use stats from last season or build off the two weeks of stats we’ve developed this year. Understanding who these pitchers are is what really matters because that’s the ultimatum for picking […]

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(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH.)

You ever call up the Utz Potato Chip corporate office and ask to speak with that “cute chick on the bags?” You ever poke your right eye out and tell your friends to call you Natty Boh? You ever walk around a deserted park with a group of tourists showing them where Adnan Syed allegedly buried Hae Lee? You ever sell crack in Hamsterdam? No? What kind of Marylandian are you? Do you even have charm to fill a city, bro? You never ate a sandwich cookie and called it a Baltim-oreo? Never?! Dude, I don’t even know you. No wonder why you don’t already have Jorge Mateo on your team! So, somehow in last week’s Buy, when I was telling you about a ton of shortstops to look for on your waivers, I forgot our old stand-buy, Jorge Mateo. Apologies, but now’s when we make it right. Mateo had a year in the minors when he went 7/49. Sure it was ancient years ago, and he’s been in the minors for over a decade, but he’s still only 27 years old, and he still has just about the fastest sprint speed in the majors. He can steal 40+ bags this year. Will he get on base enough for that? P to the erhaps, but he also has 10+ homer power. He’s basically Myles Straw, but with middle infield eligibility. I’d suck that old Buy up for a dollar (and dribble it back out on some lovely crab cakes)! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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It is week 2 in your Head to Head battles and hopefully, last weeks’ nuggets were taken with a little bit of BBQ sauce, because they were bland.   I won’t claim to be clairvoyant, but with effort will come results!  Let’s keep with the program and grind away.  As with most H2H leagues, you could easily see that 9-1 win in Week 1 manifests into a 1-9 Week 2.  The key to coming out ahead are the small details.  Hopefully we look into the crystal ball and give each of you that edge that we all need.  I have found that in any game, there are certain “codes” to obtaining desired results.  When growing up, and even into “adulthood”, I have used 007-373-5963 as my code to success.  If you have any clue to the code, please give me a shout in the comments or @natemarcum.  Let’s get into “Getting Ahead in Head to Head”

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Dropping 98 MPH 4-seamers, maxing out at 99 MPH, with a bye-bye 82-87 MPH knuckle curve with a 3100 spin rate that has 48-inches of break, followed by “Oh, okay, that was a change, okay, I see what you did there” as the batter swings and misses. Is the answer to, “Are we sure Matt Brash is real?” Oh, he looked very real. Really real. My favorite sequence was right after giving up his first run, he got Tim Anderson on five pitches and only had to throw one fastball, which was taken for a ball. His final line was 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners (1 walk), 6 Ks, and, as good as that looks, he looked better. Not convinced there won’t be some roofies here and there. I could see him going against a club with a better feel for his pitches, and just laying off, because there were a few times when I was like, “Has he thrown a strike at all this at-bat?” After seeing him, I can also answer the question, “Would I pick him up?” With a strong affirmative, i.e., the mustache must Brash. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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On the eve of Opening Day, I’m trying to recall the last time so many high-profile rookies were scheduled to break camp with the big club. Might’ve been . . . never? Prospect coverage has come a long way these past few decades. Used to be cool to bash rookies and the prospect lovers who drafted them. Now you’re just leaving money on the table if you ignore the possibility that Julio Rodriguez opens the season in center field for Seattle. 

Focusing on Rodriguez in particular, I moved earlier than Average Draft Position at the time to select him in the 18th round of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. Pick 265. He went inside the top 75 this week. Incredibly weird to me that three weeks of stats is worth 200 draft spots in the echo chamber, but that’s the illusion of certainty for you. Object permanence. I guess there was an outside chance Julio stayed in the minors until July, but not really. Not without a catastrophe of some kind. 

I’m already eager to see how next year’s crop of potential rookies is treated during draft season. Will we overweight the 2022 outcome, which happened partly due to a backlog built from the paradigm of punting combined with a CBA in flux and a lost 2020 season? Or is this simply the new reality? If a player is ready to help generate major league wins for a contending team, he will open the season on the roster. Sounds crazy, I know. 

So let’s run through the list, consider the fates of each player, and celebrate what we all hope will be a new chapter in baseball history, where service time suppression starts to creep away from center stage. 

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